Sukhothai & Si Satchanalai

A cold and wet January day

It was one of the coldest days i’ve experienced in Sukhothai. As it was raining for the last 2 days and with the cold northern wind blowing down south, the Northern part of Thailand down to Bangkok was suddenly under a cold spell. While The Northern part has always been cooler during January, it was exceptionally colder this year. And to make thing worst it also rain, making it inconvenient to walk in the historical parks. The sky was grey and flat without any shade of colours.  Continue reading

The Year of the Fire Monkey

The Chinese Lunar Year starts on the  8 of Feb  for 2016. The beginning of the Fire Monkey year.

Chinese New Year at Guan Di Temple at KL China town

People lighting up josh sticks and candles at Guan Di Temple in KL China town

On the eve of the Chinese New Year after their reunion dinner with family members, many Chinese will go to the temple to give thanks and pray for a better year. Continue reading

Fly me to the moon

Yee Peng sky lantern festival in Chiang Mai

Yee Peng sky lantern festival in Chiang Mai

At the signal from the announce to let go the Khom Loi (floating sky lantern), we were just mesmerised by the amazing sights of the sky filled with thousands of sky lanterns floating almost in a similar pattern rushing toward the full moon. For us, the first timers attending this event was an overwhelming experience but it was soon over as the thousand of lanterns disappeared in the night sky. Yee Peng, the Northern Thai Lanna Festival is held at the same time during the Loi Krathong 25 November 2015. Continue reading

Bintang Walk

At the heart of Kuala Lumpur

street scene around Bukit Bintang

street scene around Bukit Bintang

Bukit Bintang is the main shopping and Hotels area including the nearby Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Raja Chulan, and the older residential part of Jalan Imbi. In Jalan Imbi you can probably find some really nice and cheap local food with it’s many shophouses and kopitiam (local cafe) and a wet market too.

With the ongoing construction of MRT right in the middle of Jalan Bukit Bintang, this area is even more congested during peak hours. Its best to take the monorail or walk if you want to explore the few roads around this area. When you have enough of walking to the heat, just pop into the many malls around here for a late and cool air-con.

In the daytime this area is pretty safe to walk about but try to avoid the dark lanes behind shophouses at night.

street scene around Bukit Bintang

A old Chinese temple against modern building 

street scene around Bukit Bintang

Kuala Lumpur Tower

Kuala Lumpur city skyline

Kuala Lumpur city skyline with KLCC Twin towers

street scene around Bukit Bintang and Imbi Road

Something old and new – street scene around Bukit Bintang and Imbi Road

street scene around Bukit Bintang

street scene around Jalan Imbi Shophouses

street scene around Bukit Bintang

Outside the Lot 10 Mall

 

Rest.Pause.Rainforest Retreat

Embrace the rainforest at your doorsteps

Rest Pause @ntanahrimba

sunrise at Rest.Pause. tanah rimba

You’ll be surprised how close the rainforest is from Kuala Lumpur. Just 45 mins drive and you’ll be at the doorsteps  of Malaysia’s oldest rainforest. Forget about your alarm clock,  here you’ll be waking up to calls of the many varieties of birds and monkeys. Occasional you’ll even hear the calls of the endangered species of hornbill. In the early morning just as the sun rises you can see monkeys out looking for food along the road, at the surrounding compounds of the houses, which are well spaced out to give you all the peace, tranquility and privacy you wanted. Continue reading

Nine Emperor God festival

九皇爺 or Kow Wong Yeh (in cantonese)

Chinese opera performer putting on make up

Chinese opera performer putting on make up

The Nine Emperor God festival is a nine-day Taoist celebration starting from the 1st day of the 9th lunar month. At the Nine Emperor God temple in Ampang, Selangor it is always a huge celebration where thousands of devotees goes to pray for blessings and to give thanks giving. Devotees observe a vegetarian meals even before the start of the festival. Devotees will be dressed in white will be at the temple, praying, lighting up huge incense and candles. Throughout the nine-day festival the temple ground will take on a carnival-light atmosphere. Many people will go to pray and seek divine guidance.  Traders cash in to the occasion setting up stall selling anything from vegetarian food and drinks and toys. Continue reading

Go out and shoot some photos

Street Photography

street-9170Toothache; Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur.

To the lesser mortals Street photography can be a daunting experience; shooting stranger (with a camera) right in their face is not an easy thing to do. At least I find it a challenge and in some places you’ll mostly likely get a verbal tirade or worst in hostile situation. Continue reading

The blue flame of Ijen

Mid night hike to Ijen

blue fire at Ijen

blue fire at Ijen

Our next stop at Kawah Ijen is a very different volcano with the special attraction of blue fire that’s only visible in the darkness of the night. We stayed in Banyuwangi at the Ketapang Indah Hotel, which is a beach front hotel and probably one of the better hotel in this area with it’s huge well kept garden making it a good place to rest after your mid-night hike to Ijen. It took us about an hour to reach the Ijen Park where we meet up with our guides and porters before we start the 2-hour hike to reach the rim of the crater. As some parts of the 3 km hike is very steep at about 45 degrees it is better to come with a good pair of hiking shoes.

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The small but mighty volcano

Mount Bromo

morning fog at Bromo Tengger Semeru Caldera

morning fog at Bromo Tengger Semeru Caldera

It was late at night by the time the van dropped us at our hotel in the mountain village of Cemoro Lawang at the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. After checking in we arrange for 2 jeeps to pick us up at 4am for the trip to Mount Penanjakan (2,770 m) to catch the sunrise. I was barely asleep when my alarm woke me up for the 1-hour journey to Mount Penanjakan viewpoint. From the airport to Cemoro Lawang and then to Penanjakan we travel mostly in darkness so I have no idea how the surrounding area looks like. Walking up a short distant to the viewpoint we could see in the distant sky streaks of orange and purple hues started to appear over the horizon. There were already a few people waiting for sunrise at the viewpoint. Below us thick clouds float over the huge caldera enveloping the entire valley of Cemoro Lawang. It was an amazing sight. That year was May 2005.

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